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Beverly Oden

Texas Offense Too Much For Oregon

By December 19, 2012

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On first glance, the match-up between Texas and Oregon for the national championship should have been a dogfight all the way through. In the previous match, unseeded and unranked Michigan had taken the Longhorns to five sets with some surprisingly great all-around play and tough serving. If Oregon could do the same, they could contend for the title.

Oregon showed that they too could serve tough in the semifinal against Penn State. With Texas sometimes struggling on serve receive, the Ducks should have been able to exploit that weakness to stay in the match. But it was a quick three and out for the Oregon Ducks, who looked nervous in their first ever appearance in the Final Four in program history.

Texas won rather handily in the first set, 25-11. Oregon settled down in the second, leading most of the way until the Longhorns tied the match at 23, but they never could get a handle on Texas's hitters, especially their amazing outsides, Haley Eckerman and Bailey Webster. The Ducks didn't get their first block until near the end of the second set. It was the only block they would get all night long. The Texas attackers were overpowering Oregon at every position and the Longhorns ended up hitting .438 for the match.

Conversely, Texas had few problems stopping Oregon's offense. They finished with 15 total blocks and managed to shut down Oregon's leading hitter and National Player of the Year Alaina Bergsma. For the Ducks to contend against Texas, they needed Bergsma to have a big match. She finished with just nine kills with nine errors on 34 attempts, hitting .000 for the match.

Oregon did get good production from outside hitters Liz Brenner and Kat Fischer who each finished the match with 13 kills. But it wasn't enough. Texas took that second set 26-24 and ran away with the third to win the school's first national title since 1988.

Bailey Webster hit .500 for the match and was deservedly awarded the Most Outstanding Player. It is the first national title for 2012 Coach of the Year Jerritt Elliott. After knocking on the door for years with some great teams, Texas finally gets to take home the trophy. Congrats to the Longhorns for an amazing run and a much deserved championship.

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